A California meat company on Sunday issued the largest beef recall in history, 143 million pounds, some of which was used in school lunch programs, Department of Agriculture officials announced.
The recall by the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, based in Chino, Calif., comes after a widening animal-abuse scandal that started after the Humane Society of the United States distributed an undercover video on Jan. 30 that showed workers kicking sick cows and using forklifts to force them to walk.
The video raised questions about the safety of the meat, because cows that cannot walk, called downer cows, pose an added risk of diseases including mad cow disease. The federal government has banned downer cows from the food supply.
There were 21 recalls of beef related to the potentially deadly strain of E. coli last year, compared with eight in 2006 and five in 2005.
By ANDREW MARTIN
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NVDL: Eating a lot of beef is bad for everyone, maybe even everything. It's not healthy (it leads to heart disease and some cancers), it leads to quick weight gain, and people simply aren't deisnged to be carnivores. Let's start eating less meat. That's something you and I can do. The number of resources one animal consumes is enormous: water, antibiotics, feed, transport, refrigeration... With meat, less is more.